By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
By Roy Edroso
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
By Zachary D. Roberts
"A game manufacturer appears to be recruiting for a race warand they want your children to be soldiers," declares a WNBC.com article about White Law, a new PC game produced and sold over the Internet by West Virginia white-power group, the National Alliance. The title, in which you play a cop who kills blacks and Jews, is a sort of sequel to the similarly themed Ethnic Cleansing, which sold "thousands" of copies. The report breathlessly suggests that race-war games are the new war games (or is it racist games are the new racing games?). But let's not hyperventilate. Wack-job bigots have always had their books (The Bell Curve), bands (Skrewdriver), and movies (Birth of a Nation), but couldn't finance a game good enough to appeal to anyone but other wack-job bigots. Unless you're talking about the company in Syria that's currently peddling a game in which you fight Jews who attack a mosque. Saddam probably wouldn't mind furnishing a few of his billion stolen dollars on something like that.
It is indeed time for Godzilla to re-emerge from the ocean of our collective unconscious and break shit. Stop me if you've heard this one before: Aggressive outsiders descend on the developed world, turn our technological creations against us, and take over television to deliver threatening messages. The outsiders are aliens (the "Vortaak") jealous of our resources. Our creations are Godzilla and his nuke-mutated budsspike-plated Anguiru; drill-handed Megalon; three-headed, bat-winged King Ghidora; razor-armed Gigan; flying rat Rodan; and vowel-addled Destoroyah. Using mind control, the Vortaak send these monsters to destroy accurately mapped cities like L.A., London, Tokyo, and Seattle. (The game's creators thought it would be in bad taste to include New York, seeing as how King Kong already trashed the place.)
In "Adventure" mode, you choose which skyscraper-sized fighter will stand up to his brainwashed compatriots, battling in the city streets while evading tanks and helicopters, ending up (only on the Xbox version) on the alien planet, which is pockmarked with volcanoes. When buildings light upBig Ben, sayyou can let your opponents know what time it is by picking up the structure and hurling it at them. You may also stomp, swing your tail, shoot lasers out of your mouth, or unleash your dirty-bomb atomic attacks on any structure. It will collapse, eerily, into virtually nothing. Devote your time to this alone when set on "Destruction," or fight up to three friends in "Melee" and "Team Battle" modes. But "Adventure" speaks most clearly to the present day. Combating nuke-freak proliferation leads to urban annihilation, and . . . well, that's all, folks. Whatever happened to King Kong trying to get the girl?
NBA STREET VOL. 2
ForGameCube, PS2 (review copy), Xbox
If there was ever a game begging to be guest reviewed in a music mag by stoned hip-hoppers, it would be this one. OK, Def Jam Vendetta was that game, but it blows. First of all, NBA Street Vol. 2's soundtrackwhich features, among other classics, Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth's early-'90s ballad "T.R.O.Y."obviously owes more to creative input than commercial concerns (read: breaking shitty new singleswhatup, Joe Budden). For another thang, the up-to-four-player game itself is hot to death. You can pick from real-life courts right here in NYC, like Soul in the Hole (of Soul in the Hole fame), uptown star maker Rucker Park, or the Cage, near where you buy coke on Sixth Avenue. The Globetrotters are practically the only team you can't pick your player from, but as Allen Iverson or Wilt Chamberlain or Dr. J (there are 145 current NBA ballers, 25 "legends," and six "street legends" availableand Nelly as a challenger!), you can alley-oop or even bounce the ball off your opponent's head (what's known as an "Off the Heezay," my bizzle). Fans of Ethnic Cleansing don't know what they're missing!
Staying home and playing video games is the new going out and catching a mysterious infection that probably originated in the Guangdong province: The three-week shutdown of schools in Hong Kong, intended to slow the spread of SARS, led to a spike in Internet sales of games there, FinancialTimes.com reports.